No need to rethink strategies

  • Syed Ali Shah Geelani
  • Publish Date: Feb 10 2016 2:47PM
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  • Updated Date: Feb 19 2016 7:35PM
No need to rethink strategies

We  don't need to rethink our strategies. Kashmiris have been fighting for their inalienable right to self-determination for the past 68 years. It is due to the unflinching sacrifices of Kashmiris that the movement has been going on despite all efforts by India to suppress it. We have to understand that Kashmiris have been fighting a lone battle against full-fledged military might of a country. Kashmiris are main victims of Kashmir issue between India and Pakistan.

India has been using undemocratic and inhuman ways to muzzle our voice of. Since 1947, over six lakh Kashmiris have been martyred, nearly 10,000 subjected to enforced disappearance, chastity of around 6000 women outraged, 25,000 youth booked under Public Safety Act, 38,000 houses destroyed and 38 persons have been awarded life sentence.

Still Kashmiris have been pursuing the movement in a peaceful way. But India has intensified suppressive tactics against Kashmiris. They have squeezed political space of pro-freedom leaders and dissent of Kashmiris. We have seen how Indian forces and police quelled peaceful protests during 2008, 2009 and 2010 agitations by killing innocent teenagers and youth. Protests against killings are broken up with, bullets, pellets and pepper gas. Youth have been killed, tortured, maimed and blinded.

India has squeezed every space for dissent in Kashmir. Even protests for ration, power and water are disallowed. In this situation hartal is the only viable option to express our dissent. I don’t see any strategy more effective than hartal.

As far as the role of Hurriyat is concerned, we want to strengthen the movement at the grassroots. But most of the pro-freedom leaders are either under house arrest or their movement has been restricted. I am under continuous house arrest since 2010. We are not, most of the times, allowed to hold seminars or even religious functions. This is sheer dictatorship.

Even after facing so much oppression, Kashmiris have showed determination towards the movement. However, sometimes some of them get swayed by the lure of basic amenities. I and other pro-freedom leaders urge them to boycott elections, be it for Parliament, Assembly or Panchayats. Pro-India politicians persuade them to vote by dangling the prospect of better basic amenities for them. However, India projects their participation in elections as referendum in its favour. This harms our movement for right to self-determination.

Kashmiris should realize that their movement is a just cause and it is their responsibility to safeguard it. Even if India constructs roads with gold and diamonds , they should not get swayed but remain steadfast on their mission. They should not be disappointed by ups and downs in movement and remain cautious of tactics of Indian agencies who are making all efforts to divert their attention.

It was disheartening and painful to learn that recently 30 Kashmiris girls went on an all-India tour under Army’s Operation Sadhbhavana.

India wants to pollute our young minds under a conspiracy. It is high time for Kashmiris to wake up from slumber and save our youth from destruction. Actually, India which is a signatory to the United Nations resolutions on Kashmir wants to deny Kashmiris their right.

Several Kashmiris fought elections to highlight the Kashmir issue, however, their voices were suppressed. I have also fought elections and was in the Assembly for 15 years. There is no scope for pro-freedom groups to fight elections as they won’t be allowed to even demand Azadi for Kashmir.

As far as the gun is concerned it has its own role in the ongoing movement. These youth also believe that they are fighting against forcible control of Kashmir by India. However, we are pursuing our struggle through peaceful means and hope to take it to its logical conclusion.